Posted on 23 maj 2011.
Right this second I know exactly how that crazy Microsoft founder felt.*
After three days at the first ever European Beer Bloggers Conference 2011 in London I feel so pumped I could run up to complete strangers and shout things like “THE FUTURE OF BEER MEDIA IS ONLINE!” and “BLOGGERS ROCK!” right into their startled faces.
But I won’t because quite frankly that would be a little silly (although both statements are true I don’t think people are really ready for that just yet).
So instead I’ll try and climb out of the bloggers bubble I’ve been inflating around myselft over the past few days, exercise restraint and say that I believe I have just witnessed the genre of beer blogging come of age in London and stake its claim as a credible and indispensable media source of the future.
Over 70 delegates attended this inaugural event with the vast majority from the UK blogging scene as well as representatives from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and of course me waving the flag for Sweden.
*It might not look cool when learning how to detect faults in beer but it was a fascinating experiment to sample beers spiked with off-flavours. Food and beer pairings were a major theme throughout the conference and some of the leading UK bloggers (and an international panel of bloggers with me in it) gave a series of talks on where we see the future of online media heading.
Over three days of fascinating sessions and passionate debate (fuelled by some amazing beers) we took a long hard look at ourselves as a community, talked about how far we’d already come and more importantly how far we’ve still got left to go in establishing beer blogs as a respected and trusted source of beer content.
What I learnt has left me in no doubt bloggers are the vanguard of modern beer media. As conference organiser Allan Wright put it: “You (bloggers) have an opportunity to become the leading source of information about beer on the planet. You just have to take it”.
The people I met at #bbc11 (just twitter search that for an entertaining timeline rundown of what happened in London) were possibly the most passionate, engaged, driven and inspiring bunch I’ve ever met. The vast majority spend hundreds, even thousands of hours each year blogging about beer without a thought for reward.
They do it simply because they love beer and because they want more people to feel the same way about it as they do.
*Some random images from the conference, which attracted some big beer names, a goblin and the opportunity to try some amazing beers from all over Europe. Oh and if anyone from Camden Town Brewery has seen the other half of my glasses I’d be grateful if you’d get in touch
But blogging aside the European Beer Bloggers Conference was a breakthrough for an entirely different reason as four Swedish breweries took their first tentative steps into the world of export.
Sigtuna Brygghus, Jessica Heidrich (with her S:t Eriks beers), Nynäshmans and Oppigårds all had their beers represented at the conference’s headline event ‘The Night of Many Beers’ and I think it’s fair to say we grabbed more than our fair share of attention.
It was amazing to see beers from 4 Swedish craft brewers being poured in London. Here's Mattias and Jessica getting ready to greet the bloggers.
To see Swedish beers being poured up in the UK capital was pretty special and to witness the smiles on the faces of hardened beer bloggers as they tried them (in-between furiously scribbling down notes) confirmed something I’ve been saying for some time now.
Swedish craft beer is world class. **
There’s a lot of people I’d like to thank for the last few days. Firstly the four Swedish breweries that took the time and the initiative to be a part of this amazing event. It was important to showcase just how far the Swedish beer scene has come and in my opinion we did all that and more.
I’d also like to thank the conference organisers Zephyr Adventures for staging an amazing event that far exceeded any expectations I had and Mark Dredge for helping pull everything together.
Then there’s the sponsors, headed by MolsonCoors, whose financial contributions made the event happen but more importantly made us bloggers feel valued. I’ve also got to pick out Pilsner Urquell for cleverly transforming a room in a London conference centre into a little bit of Pilsen and serving us their beer in all its unfiltered and unpasteurised greatness.
Finally I want to say thanks to all the amazing bloggers I met, who shared their passion for beer with me and made me realise that I am a part of something incredibly big and exciting.
The talk is the European Beer Bloggers Conference 2012 will be held in either the UK or the Czech Republic. Wherever it’s held BeerSweden will be there and I urge as many of the other Swedish beer bloggers who can make it to join me there.***
*minus the horrendous level of personal sweat of course.
** I know a big statement like this will inevitably get some of you rolling your eyes up to the heavens and itching to post a comment telling me to get a grip on reality but our beers were poured up together with some amazing beers from the US, France, the UK and Italy and they more than held their own. So say what you want but we were there and we owned it!
***I apologise if this post is a little too much blog and not enough beer but hope you’ll humour me just this once.